Massachusetts Questions Encore Boston Harbor Expansion

A planned expansion of Wynn’s Encore Boston Harbor (l.) that recently added gaming has the Massachusetts Gaming Commission looking into whether gaming is permitted by law on the expansion.

Massachusetts regulators are researching the state’s 2013 gaming referendum and gaming law to determine whether Wynn Resorts’ expansion to a new development across the street is permitted to have gaming.

The extension originally was planned as a non-gaming addition, which would not require gaming regulation. However, the company recently altered the plans to include gaming in the addition. Regulators say they want to study the 2013 ballot question to ascertain whether voters approved gaming in general by Wynn Resorts, or only at the specified Encore Boston Harbor location, which did not include the addition.

The gaming law created after the successful referendum is silent on expansions of gaming properties. The 2013 ballot question was:

“Shall the city of Everett permit the operation of a gaming establishment licensed by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to be located at the property located on Horizon Way (off ‘Lower Broadway’) in Everett, formerly known as the Monsanto Chemical Site?”

The host community agreement signed by Everett officials does provide that Wynn may “acquire land in the City in and around the area depicted in Exhibit A (the current Encore Boston Harbor site), but did not address whether those nearby properties can host gaming.

The commission told Wynn officials to return at the net meeting with a presentation showing the boundaries of the former Monsanto chemical site.